Experimental Mechanics

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 140–146 | Cite as

Hollow golf club head modal characteristics: Determination and impact applications

  • A. Hocknell
  • S. R. Mitchell
  • R. Jones
  • S. J. Rothberg


The design of modern hollow golf club heads is a labor-intensive process involving extensive performance festing both by robotic and real golfers. This paper describes how, by correlating club head mechanical behavior with functional performance, it will become possible to use validated computational models to predict this performance as well as related contributions to the ill-defined concept of “feel”. Successful use of experimental modal analysis to validate a hollow golf club head finite element model is reported. Modal tests employing noncontacting, laser-based transducers facilitated identification of the natural frequencies and corresponding modeshapes for the three main surfaces of the club head. The experimental data suggest predominantly different modal characteristics for each surface, and this compares favorably with equivalent data obtained from the finite element model. The modal data are also used to identify surfaces responsible for particular frequency components present in the club head impact sound spectrum. The potential for detailed impact performance prediction using the finite element model is further demonstrated by comparison of computed and experimental club head acceleration measurements recorded during simulated and actual club-ball impacts.


Finite Element Model Modal Characteristic Extensive Performance Head Impact Acceleration Measurement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Braham, J., “Super Clubs Hit the Sweet Spot,” Machine Des., 30–34 (April 1992).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Chou, P.C., Liang, D., and Yang, J., “Contact Forces, Coefficient of Restitution and Spin Rate of a Golf Ball Impact,” Science and Golf 2, Proc. World Scientific Congress of Golf, ed. A.J. Cochran and M.R. Farrally, St. Andrews, 296–301 (1994).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Iwata, M., Okuto, N., and Satoh, F., “Designing of Golf Club Heads by Finite Element Method (FEM) Analysis,” Science and Golf, Proc. First World Scientific Congress of Golf, ed. A.J. Cochran, St. Andrews, 274–279 (1990).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Stead, A., “Analysis of the Impact Stresses on a Metal Golf Wood Using Finite Element Methods,”BEng project report, Department of Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University, Leichestershire, UK (1992).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Thomson, R.D., Whittaker, A.R., Wong, K., and Adam, A., “Impact of a Golf Ball with a Rigid Clubface,” Proc. 6th UKABAQUS User Group Conference, September 27, 1990, ed. S. Brundrett and J.G. Redhead, University of Manchester, 41–47 (1990).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Mather, J.S.B., “The Role of Club Response in the Design of Current Golf Clubs,”Proc. 14th Int. Modal Analysis Conf., Dearborn, MI, Vol. 1, 397–403 (1996).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Okubo, N. and Simada, M., “Application of CAE (Computer Aided Engineering) to Golf Club Dynamics,” Science and Golf, Proc. First World Scientific Congress of Golf, ed. A.J. Cochran, St. Andrews, 270–273 (1990).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Swider, P., Ferraris, G., andVincent, B., “Theoretical and Experimental Dynamic Behaviour of a Golf Club Made of Composite Material,”Modal Analysis: Int. J. Analytical and Experimental Modal Analysis,9,57–69 (1994).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Thomas, G., Deiters, T., andBest, C.,”Simulating Golf Club Performance Using Modal Analysis,”Proc. 13th Int. Modal Analysis Conf., Vol. 2, 989–995 (1995).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Varoto, P.S. and McConnell, K.G., “Using Modal Analysis to Evaluate Golf Club Performance,” Sound and Vibration, 20–23 (March 1995).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Hocknell, A., Jones, R., andRothberg, S.J., “Experimental Analysis of Impacts with Large Elastic Deformation. Part 1: Linear Motion,”Meas. Sci. Tech.,7 (9),1247–1254 (1996).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hocknell, A., Jones, R., and Rothberg, S.J., “Engineering ‘Feel’ in the Design of Golf Clubs,” The Engineering of Sport: Proc. 1st Int. Conf. Engineering of Sport, ed. S.J. Haake, Sheffield, 333–337 (1996).Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Mitchell, S.R., Newman, S.T., Hinde, C.J., and Jones, R., “A Design System for Iron Golf Clubs,” Science and Golf 2: Proc. World Scientific Congress of Golf, ed. A.J. Cochran and M.R. Farrally, St. Andrews, 390–395 (1994).Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Mitchell, S.R., “A Feature Based Approach to the Computer Aided Design of Sculptured Products,”Ph.D. thesis, Loughborough University, Leichestershire, UK (1996).Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Hocknell, A., Mitchell, S.R., Underwood, D.J., and Jones, R., “Feature Based Quadrilateral Mesh Generation for Sculptured Surface Products,” J. Des. Manufact.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Ewins, D.J., Modal Testing Theory and Practice, Research Studies Press (1984).Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Jones, R. andWykes, C., Holographic and Speckle Interferometry, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1983).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Society for Experimental Mechanics, Inc. 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Hocknell
    • 1
  • S. R. Mitchell
    • 1
  • R. Jones
    • 1
  • S. J. Rothberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Loughborough UniversityLeicestershireUK

Personalised recommendations